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A decade after launch, the tale of how Apple kept Safari a surprise

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The great thing about a software prototype? You can’t leave it in a bar.

While Apple has a hard time keeping secrets lately, there was a time — before blogs and Twitter and small, portable devices — that the company was really, really good at it. Friday brings us an entertaining post from a former Apple engineer on the story behind how he and his colleagues very cleverly kept Apple’s Safari browser a secret as they were developing it more than 10 years ago.

There were no Fight Club posters, no cutesy codes names for the team building Apple’s web browser; just a dedicated group who valued extreme secrecy, according to Don Melton, the guy who led the Safari and WebKit projects at Apple.

“Nobody at Apple was stupid enough to blog about work, so what was I worried about? Server logs. They scared the hell out of me,” he wrote.

How did he get around this fear in order to test the browser on the open web? Head over to Melton’s blog to hear about the creative lengths his team went to in order to ensure that Safari caught the world by surprise at its big reveal on stage at MacWorld 2003.

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